More toxic waste for burial at smelter site

AN extra 450,000 cubic metres of toxic waste will be buried in a containment cell on the old Pasminco site at Boolaroo.

The move, which the NSW Department of Planning has approved, will allow Incitec Pivot to bury contamination from its site on Pasminco land.

It will allow redevelopment of the sites to progress.

Pasminco had approval to bury up to 1.15 million cubic metres of pollution in a 20 hectare cell on its site, a department report said.

Adding contaminants from the Incitec site will increase the amount of waste to 1.6million cubic metres and raise the cell’s height by four metres.

The department’s executive director Chris Wilson said the approval would enable Pasminco and Incitec to work together to contain contamination. It would allow the Incitec land to be put to ‘‘productive community use’’.

He said the decision meant ‘‘less risk of cross-contamination between the two sites and will enable a more efficient approach to their management’’.

Pasminco deed administrator Peter McCluskey said Pasminco had been in a legal dispute with Incitec over ‘‘the cross-contamination issue’’.

‘‘Incitec are on the high side of the land so, with rainfall, it would be difficult to contain the contamination,’’ he said.

‘‘But rather than get embroiled in costly litigation, we had a sensible discussion with Incitec.’’

This led Pasminco to accept Incitec’s contaminants in its cell.

‘‘We will build a short land bridge from Incitec to our site and they will contract our team to clean up their land,’’ he said.

‘‘It will allow the whole site to be developed as one and more quickly.’’

Mr McCluskey said it was ‘‘an obvious solution to a problem and the working relationship with Incitec is very good’’.

A department report said Pasminco lead and zinc smelter and Incitec fertiliser plant had operated for more than 100 years, leaving a legacy of heavy-metal contaminants. When remediation work is complete, Pasminco plans to cover the cell with a two-metre cap and landscape it with small shrubs and turf. Sports fields are planned.

Groundwater and leachate will be treated on-site, before being discharged  to Cockle Creek.

Redevelopment plans for the 200-hectare site include about 800 houses, light industry, commercial projects, warehouses and conservation areas.

Lake Macquarie City Council had raised concerns about management of the cell, but the department said Pasminco must have legal agreements in place for the maintenance, funding and monitoring of it.

The NSW Department of Planning will allow Incitec Pivot to bury contamination on Pasminco land.

The NSW Department of Planning will allow Incitec Pivot to bury contamination on Pasminco land.


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